Porto simplify James Rodriguez summer switch to Manchester United

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Manchester United have been linked with signing James Rodriguez on a regular basis. It has now become an easier deal for the Red Devils to complete than before.

The transfer window may have closed until July, but potentially significant developments in Portugal have been taking place over the past 48 hours which may interest fans of Manchester United.

One of United's key targets heading into the window was reported to be Colombian winger James Rodriguez, the 21-year-old valued at over £30 million.

There was no movement on the deal, as United decided to keep Nani, but in the summer there will be just 12 months left on his remaining deal and United will likely elect to cash in.

Wilfried Zaha can be a replacement, but if the Red Devils elect to re-invest the money in Rodriguez, their life has been made easier.

At present Rodriguez is cup-tied in the Champions League and in the midst of his campaign with Porto who play Malaga in the knock-out rounds, so a move was unlikely now anyway.

The news out of Portugal this weekend is that Porto have re-acquired 35 per cent on Rodriguez' ownership rights from a third-party.

Porto previously held just 55 per cent of his rights, limiting the amount they would receive on any hefty transfer fee, but bought back 35 per cent of the rights they do not own last week, at a price of 8.7 million Euros.

Portuguese newspaper O Jogo reported the news, with 10 per cent of Rodriguez' rights owned by another third party.

It all makes selling Rodriguez in the summer more likely. For Porto to sell a star man like Rodriguez, the club needed to feel they would get something back for it. Prior to this, they would have received little over half the fee for one of their star players, limiting what they would view as 'compensation' for their loss - and the amount they could spend on a replacement.

Now if a big bid comes in, it's easier to envisage it being accepted. Not only that, but it will be easier to negotiate; it's probable Porto will seek to buy back the final 10 per cent of his rights and own his playing rights in entirety.

Porto did the same with Joao Moutinho on Friday - Which is important because the complication of third party ownership ultimately scuppered his deadline day switch to Tottenham back in August.

Third party ownership is banned by the Premier League, complicating any transfers, as clubs cannot simply 'transfer' a stake to another, the investors have to agree too. It's an issue UEFA discussed as recently as December, with moves said to be in the pipeline to ban it, which could have something to do with Porto buying up stakes in the players they own - to avoid any sanctions from UEFA which could cost them in the Champions League this year or in the future.

United aren't the only ones chasing Rodriguez; Juventus are also said to be heavily interested, almost signing him before he went to Porto. If either of them do want to make a move in the summer, an added layer of complication has now been removed.

Can you see United moving Nani on and signing Rodriguez in the summer?

image: © dioxido

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